Student Media Body of IIT Kgp

 

Technology Students' Gymkhana Elections 2018-19



Candidate for Vice-President, Gymkhana

Apurv Dave

DEPARTMENT: Mechanical Engineering
HALL: LLR Hall of Residence




Proposal 1: Setup of the iKGP mobile application

This proposal is aimed at creating an integrated platform for every KGPian, that gives every student easy access to essential services with respect to the ERP academic section, B C Roy Hospital, CDC Notifications, HMC Complaints and all necessary information related to academic/non-academic happenings inside the campus.

Proposal 2: Illuminate Mentorship Programme for Academically Weak Students

The Mentorship Programme aims to provide a more reliable and robust student support system by identifying select senior students from each department to act as mentors for a set of junior students and helping them cope with problems relating to academics, career counselling, personal issues that they may face in the department or otherwise.

Proposal 3: Digitization of Courses

This proposal aims to bridge the information gap concerning courses from different departments, by creating an online centralized repository that will contain all necessary information, right from the syllabus to previous year papers and assignments.

Proposal 4: Installation of Vending Machines in Campus

This proposal aims to increase access to various essential commodities like nutritious food, drinks and stationery, medicines and sanitary pads at various times of the day by the installation of readily available and self-servicing vending machines at common junctions around the campus.

Proposal 5: Improving Rankings of IIT Kharagpur

This proposal aims to make IIT Kharagpur be recognized as one of the top schools, both overall and across a multitude of disciplines by undertaking various initiatives that will assist IIT Kharagpur in improving its rankings, under the parameters including: Perception and Outreach & Inclusivity.

Proposal 1: Setup of the iKGP Mobile Application     

Overview:

In today's age, it has become increasingly important to improve the online infrastructure through digitization to reduce paper trail, increase accountability and make services available to more and more people.

In the life of a student in the institute, the ERP system already plays a pivotal role in acting as a platform for all of a student's academic needs, right from academic registration to reviewing results and giving access to the CDC portal. The HMC website and grievance portal is another such independent platform that addresses a majority of student's non-academic needs, with regards to providing relevant information and addressing grievances related to hall/mess management. Recently, a grievance portal for the BC Roy Technology Hospital was also integrated in the ERP, so that various stakeholders in the entire process will be able to view and monitor the resolution of complaints.

Since an ERP account is central to one’s identity in IIT Kharagpur, I propose to provide a one stop solution for all the students of IIT Kharagpur, by integrating all of the above mentioned facets in the ERP, along with various other features as discussed below by incorporating all of them in the iKGP mobile application for the IIT Kharagpur Students' Community.

Need:

A major issue that the institute faces is that proper medical history of a student is not maintained. Often students do not use the assigned medical book and use the emergency slips. In this case the record of the medical history may not be maintained in the medical book of the student, and BC Roy only notes it down in registers. In case of an emergency, this will result in delays for searching the required record which may prove to be fatal. There is a pressing need to have digital records of the complete medical history and vital information for getting knowledge of previous medicine subscriptions as well. Moreover, due to lack of any means to quickly analyse data, timely alerts regarding the spread of contagious diseases cannot be issued. On speaking with Prof Chhanda Chakraborti, Chairman of BC Roy Technology Hospital and Dr. Seema Roy, Senior Medical Officer (Administration), BC Roy Technology Hospital, they also agreed that maintaining a patient profile is extremely necessary.

For an institute like ours that provides a plethora of academic choices that a student has the right to exercise, such as applying for minor/micro, there is a need to make this platform as accessible to everyone as possible. The CDC portal is essential to every pre-final and final year student with respect to internships and placements, and a significant portion of announcements on CDC are on short notice and require urgent action. Hence they are often missed by students.

Currently, the online HMC portal for addressing student grievances with regards to complaints related to water, electrical, civil and mess services in halls of residences, functions largely independently and is lesser known among the KGP community. Since these issues affect everyday life of a student, it is the need of the hour to integrate this platform, to not only reduce the paper trail that is generally associated with these processes, but also to make sure every student has the option of having their issues addressed as soon as possible.

As of now, there exist separate independent platforms of communication for different happenings in KGP, from the Gymkhana social media handle to mails on various Google Groups. It has been seen that a considerable number of people miss out on urgent notices such as the mails regarding suspension of bus services, thus calling for a revamp in the current mode of communication.

What needs to be done and benefits?:

I propose the integration of the ERP academic section, CDC portal, BC Roy, HMC complaints portal, Notice Board and a general FAQs section into one app, that can be accessed by every student using his/her ERP login credentials.

Academic:

The academic tab will not only give access to the mails received on ERP which largely go unread, but also allow a student to easily make use of all the functions on ERP, such as downloading admit cards, registering for academic sessions, etc.

CDC Portal:

By integrating the features of CDC Notify app, the CDC portal aims to reduce the inconvenience faced by many pre-final and final year students, concerning short notices regarding resume submission and shortlisting.

HMC Complaints Portal

The HMC complaints tab will integrate the features of the already existing Students’ Complaint Portal into the app, and will allow the student to keep a track of the process. For example, when a student files a concern regarding the fan in his/her room after logging into the app, the hall authorities will be notified, and the student will be alerted through push notifications once the concerned authority has addressed the problem on their end.

B C Roy Technology Hospital Portal

By introducing record keeping on computers in BC Roy Hospital, a complete medical history of the student can be maintained easily. Thus, a complete patient profile which will have records of previous visits, subscriptions and other vital information such as blood group, medical history (submitted by students at the time of admission) will be instantly available and linked to the ERP profile of a student.

The app will also allow a student to check the availability of a doctor and to book an appointment for the same. Also, since appointment records will be kept on computers, it will be much easier to sort and analyse the data, through which it can be found out which doctors are the most in demand and at which time slots is the hospital the busiest. In that manner, steps can be taken to call in these doctors for more visits and allocate resources in the hospital in a better manner. Apart from that, timely alerts for contagious disease can be issued if any such pattern is available in the data that is being recorded.

Having an SOS button in the app will help alert the B C Roy authorities faster, and will make sure emergency services get to the student in need as soon as possible.

Since ERP already has a portal for filing grievances regarding hospital facilities, integrating this element within the app will ensure accountability of doctors and will allow more students to file their grievances regarding a particular doctor appointment. This will make sure more issues concerning incompetence of hospital authorities are brought to light, so that they can be resolved.

FAQ Section

Having a FAQ section in the app will allow access to a centralized repository of information where students can get their queries regarding administrative procedures such as getting a bona fide certificate resolved. Linking this section to metaKGP resources will ensure students have quick access to the necessary information, such as finding out how to apply for Institute formalities, and book or avail Institute Facilities.

Notice Board

There are a multitude of channels through which student representatives communicate with the student community which include the VP TSG mass mailer, the social media pages of the Technology Students’ Gymkhana, the Technology Students’ Gymkhana Google Group, and many more. In an effort to make sure every student is informed, the notice board on the application will give backend access to institute representatives such as the VP TSG, General Secretaries and the PR Chair, so that urgent notices can reach the masses efficiently through push notifications.

Guest House Booking

The ERP recently introduced a tab to facilitate checking of Guest House availability and initiating the Booking Process. This can be incorporated in a similar fashion inside the application.

Security

In case of a serious issue which requires the involvement of the security, such as the occurrence of a mishap or accident, then an emergency hotline for security is incorporated within the app to ensure emergency alerts for the Security Control Room and speedy resolution of the issue.

Gender Grievances

To cater to gender grievances, wherein a student is harassed or discriminated by a member of the opposite gender, we have created a separate tab for such matters. In this case, the student representatives, the Security Office and the members of the Internal Complaints Committee will have access to the backend of the interface, such that the issue can be resolved expeditiously.

Groundwork

I had proposed this idea to Prof. Sudhir Kumar Barai, Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Prof. Somesh Kumar, Dean of Student Affairs. They are extremely enthusiastic regarding this proposal, and they have mentioned that there is already a plan to create a multifaceted appof this form linked through the ERP. I also spoke to Mr. Anupam Khan, product manager at ERP, and showed him the demonstration of the app that I have already made, who said this is a good idea and that the backend can be implemented. Apart from this I have also discussed the additions of various new facets with Prof. Chhanda Chakrabarti.

Proposal 2: Illuminate Mentorship Programme for Academically Weak Students      

Overview:

Mentorship is vital at university level, not only because of the knowledge and skills students can assimilate from mentors, but also because mentoring provides professional socialization and personal support to facilitate success at the college and beyond. Quality mentoring greatly enhances students' academic performance, aids to reduce stress, helps improve the self esteem of an individual, and hence greatly improves the chances of a mentee in attaining his objectives.

Currently, the Student Mentor Programme under the aegis of the Students’ Welfare Group provides a platform for the productive interaction and guidance of first year students by seniors preferably from the same department. However there is a need to maintain constant mentorship in subsequent years, by providing a reliable and robust student support system, to motivate the students to excel in their academic and non academic pursuits, and to make the most of their IIT Kharagpur life.

Hence, the need of the hour is an alternative mentorship programme, which is specifically for students in undergraduate departments facing severe issues after freshman year. The programme aims to identify select senior students from each department to act as mentors for a set of junior students and help them cope with problems relating to academics, career counselling, personal issues that they may face in the department or otherwise.

The major facets of Illuminate Mentorship Programme, which differentiates it from the SMP, are as follows:

  • The mentors who will be selected after a rigorous selection process, will be subject to an orientation programme and a series of learning sessions conducted by experts, to understand the various elements of the mentorship process.
  • It is mandatory for the mentors and mentees to meet at regular intervals as defined below. Each and every meeting must be properly logged and these are to be monitored by the various stakeholders in entire process.
  • The mentors will also be accountable to the faculty advisors of their mentee batch. This will also ensure that there is a proper interface and channel to communicate various problems faced by the mentees to the faculty advisor. The advantage of such an approach is that this will help bridge the communication gap between the students and the faculty.
  • Need:

    There is a definite need to have specialised mentors, equipped to solve problems across a multitude of domains, most importantly, academics, internships and placements, personal issues etc. Since the first year has common courses for all departments, the counselling and mentoring of academically weak students (as defined in the UG Guidelines) is an absolute necessity and is of utmost priority. This is because in the subsequent years, there are more of department specific courses and electives, and such students may need assistance manoeuvring their way through these. It is also necessary for these experienced mentors to monitor their mental health, and keep them motivated and stimulated to pursue the plethora of opportunities that are available in this campus and beyond. There are currently 1,143 academically weak students in the institute and it is vital that there is a one to one mapping of each of these students, so that they are equipped to tackle their problems.

    Following a successful pilot programme, this initiative can be extended to cater to all of the students in the institute. Illuminate Mentorship Programme hence will assist in improving the overall quality life for all students in the institute, and make sure those who require support never lack in it.

    Workflow

  • Selection of Mentors: The candidates who are eligible to apply should have a Cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 8.0 in their respective course of study. They should also have a minimum of 2 years of experience in campus. Candidates will have to submit a Statement of Purpose for their candidature, and suitable candidates will go through an interview process which will be conducted by the faculty advisors and Vice President, Technology Students’ Gymkhana. Based on the SOP, interview and peer reviews the candidates will be selected to be a mentor.
  • Orientation Programme: The selected mentors will be required to go through an extensive orientation programme, which will be conducted by the faculty in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department, Center for Excellence in the Science of Happiness, counsellors from the Counselling Center, and various external experts. The purpose of this programme is to sensitise these mentors about how to tackle the various problems faced by students, and how to build a bond with their mentees, such that there is no apprehension between the mentor and the mentee.
  • Allotment and Ice-Breaker Meetings: The mentor(s) in the department are allotted their mentees based, and the mentor to mentee ratio should be on an average of 1:6. The mentors and mentees will be required to meet every week for the first month and then twice a month subsequently, to ensure proper counsel is provided in an expedited manner.
  • Logging the Meetings: An online portal is to be developed so that the meetings can be logged. This will ensure proper accountability, and that regular meetings are taking place. The back end interface will have handles for the Vice President, Technology Students’ Gymkhana, the Faculty Advisors and the Head of Department.
  • Reporting to Faculty Advisor: On the basis of these meetings the mentor will have to submit an overall report about the status of a student by the end of each month to the faculty advisor. This report will contain details about the academic issues that a student is facing, his/her mental health and holistic well being, and how can these issues be countered in the future. This will ensure that the faculty advisor is also abreast of the problems of each and every student facing academic issues. The other advantages include the proper tracking and grievance redressal of students who are physically unwell, are facing mental wellness issues, or are facing other personal problems.
  • Addressing special cases at an institute level: Based on the reports that are submitted to the faculty advisor, the academic progress of these students can be monitored. In case issues cannot be resolved at a student mentor level, these special cases will be reported to the Dean of Student Affairs, and necessary steps can be taken subsequently. If required, mentees may be referred to the Counselling Center, BC Roy Technology Hospital and external assistance.
  • Learning Sessions: Various learning sessions will be conducted throughout the year, so that the mentors can keep learning about how to counsel mentees who are tackling issues such as drug addiction, alcohol abuse, interpersonal issues etc.
  • The programme will commence from the upcoming year, and all the academically weak students in the second year, will be provided a mentor.

    The Vice President, Technology Students’ Gymkhana will head the entire mentorship effort across all departments, and supervise the activities of mentors. The VP, TSG will ensure meetings are taking place regularly, and that the meeting logs are updated accordingly. The Student Mentors will coordinate with all the faculty advisors regularly to ensure that a proper academic plan can be formulated for these academically weak students.

    Timeline:

    July 31st : Deadline for submitting SOPs
    August 1st - 14th : Shortlisting of Candidates
    August 15th: Interview Process for Shortlisted Candidates
    August 16th: Mentee Allotment
    August 16th - September 15th: Introductory Ice Breaking Meetings
    September 15th: First Monthly Update to Faculty Advisor
    Post Mid Semesters: Regular meetings to take place in line with the guidelines above

    Incentives:

    Apart from the prestige and satisfaction that is associated with mentoring peers, in order to provide a financial incentive, an honorarium of INR 10,000 should be provided to the mentors per annum in lieu for their efforts. Each mentor will also receive a certificate duly signed by the Dean of Student Affairs. The best mentors should also be awarded and their efforts should be acknowledged in the campus community through appropriate channels.

    Feasibility:

    Since there are 1143 academically weak students in the institute [across all batches], we assume a uniform distribution 190 academically weak students on an average per batch. Assuming a mentor to mentee ratio of 1:6, around 30 - 32 mentors per batch would be required to launch the pilot project. The proposed honorarium for each mentor on an annual basis would be ₹ 10000. Hence, the total cost required comes to 3.2 lakh per annum. An honorarium amount has already been sanctioned by the Director’s Office for the recently approved Peer Assisted Learning program in the 324th Institute Senate meeting. Since this is an extremely vital program for the holistic wellness of students, and we have received an affirmative response from the stakeholders in the process, we believe that we will be able to successfully run the pilot program for academically weak students in the batch cohort of 2018. After the successful conduction of this pilot program, we will look forward to replicate the model for academically weak students entering their 3rd year with mentors in their 4th year.

    Groundwork Done:

  • In IIT Bombay, a program has been implemented on a similar model which is called the Departmental Academic Mentorship Programme. This was originally adopted for catering to the needs of the weak students in IIT Bombay in 2003. In 2017, it was recently extended to all students in freshman year. In IIT Bombay, I have spoken to the ex-General Secretary, Academic Affairs Abhishek Khadiya and understood the operational model of DAMP and have remodeled the proposal accordingly for implementation in IIT Kharagpur.
  • I have approached Prof. Somesh Kumar, Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. Manas Kumar Mandal, of the Department Of Humanities and Social Sciences and Prof. Priyadarshi Patnaik, Head Of Department of Humanities and Social Sciences with respect to the training module that is to be offered to the appointed mentors. They are extremely enthusiastic to take this program forward. They have also ensured wholehearted support for the programme from the Center for Excellence in the Science Happiness.
  • I have also spoken to Prof. Rajlakshmi Guha and Prof. Sangeeta Das Bhattacharya of the School of Medical Science and Technology regarding the learning sessions in sensitising the appointed mentors.
  • Proposal 3: Digitization of Courses      

    Overview:

    In today’s age, it has become extremely important for any organization to completely transition to an IT enabled administrative infrastructure to reduce the paper trail and increase accountability.

    In 2017, even the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi recognized the importance of digitization by launching the ‘Digital India’ initiative to improve the online infrastructure to make services available to each and every citizen of the country.

    In the report commission by the institute to KPMG to suggest reforms for the institute to realize the goals of ‘Vision 2020’, it was stated that having a completely IT enabled administrative infrastructure is the key to reduce bureaucratic delays and a major step forward for any campus in reducing the paper trail and increasing accountability and access. Globally, the transition to a digital framework has already started taking place, with the introduction of MOOCs and dedicated websites for courses offered. Such infrastructure is already present in top universities of the world such as the Ivy League. Being a premier institute of the country, it is vital that an online repository of all course material is made to benefit the students and aid them in assimilating the course material.

    Need:

    A major issue that students in the institute face is that most courses lack a compilation or proper repository of the relevant documents such as study materials, previous year papers, reference books and slides of the course. For a few courses, the information is present online, however, due to lack of a proper channel it is in a very disorganised format. Moreover, there is a lot of confusion among students when applying or breadths and electives as a basic course overview is missing from which the students can gauge their interest in the subject.

    Many a times, prior or during the examination period, students have a lot of queries but they can’t seem to get in touch with the faculty incharge due to various constraints.

    For an institute like ours, which aims to be in the top 20 universities of the world by 2030, all administrative work should be maintained digitally for better record keeping and convenience. This is also a major direction in which an institute can reduce the paper consumption and move to a greener model.

    Currently, Moodle is a Course Management System (CMS), which is used to create online courses for Professors and students to achieve learning goals. Moodle is an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. It allows for a focus on interaction and collaborative construction of content. Although this platform is in use for most subjects offered at the first year level, and for a few courses across a handful of departments. Hence, the need of the hour is to create a robust mechanism to ensure that all the courses are properly documented on an online platform.

    What needs to be done and benefits?

    I propose that we have a dedicated website for each subject hosted by the departmental website where all the details of the course are readily available to help the aspiring student decide the relevance of the course, as well as aid the currently enrolled student in learning without difficulty. Along with attending classes, the presence of the this dedicated website would be an excellent platform for better grasping of the subject matter.

    I propose to include the following features in each website for the benefit of the student community of IIT Kharagpur:

    1. An overview section with the overview of the course
    a. This will help the interested students to understand the course better
    b. The fundamental learnings of the course will be clear from the beginning so students will opt for it accordingly
    c. The professor will list out the prerequisites beforehand so that students interested in the course can plan accordingly

    2. A syllabus section with the date wise syllabus
    a. This will help the students who were absent due to unforeseen circumstances to cope with the course
    b. It will also enable the student to understand the scope of the course

    3. A repository containing all the desired study material, assignments, and previous year papers
    a. This will help the institute maintain a consolidated repository of each subject
    b. All of the online material, or lecture notes should be made available for the benefit of the students
    c. To augment these resources, a list of reference books and material will also be provided in this category

    4. Contact Details of the Professor and Teaching Assistants
    a. This will ensure that the students can reach out to the professor and TAs in a stipulated time window, in order to resolve his/her issues

    5. An announcement/discussion forum
    a. This will help the professor to dispense information or make urgent announcements
    b. This will help the students ask doubts

    In addition to this, an ancillary Moodle link can be setup for the subject to build the courses, keep track of attendance, assignments and grades. Assignments for courses maintained via Moodle are to be submitted online within a predetermined deadline. The Moodle platform can also be utilised to administer term exams, class tests and quizzes.

    Procedure:

    After discussing with the relevant stakeholders (mentioned below), the opinion of both the student community and institute administration is that this proposal has to be expedited at the earliest. Hence, I will ensure that it is presented in the Institute Senate, so that a central directive is issued to all of the faculty members at IIT Kharagpur regarding the setup of a course page. Following this, the Moodle links for each subject can be activated accordingly under the aegis of the National Mission on Education through Information Communication Technology (NMEICT). The Technology Coordinator of the Technology Students’ Gymkhana can create a template website, where information will be provided by the respective faculty member, and the content will be visible on their corresponding website. Along with the help of the Departmental Representatives in the recently established Undergraduate Council, the setup of these dedicated websites can be expedited through regular follow ups with every professor in the department.

    Groundwork done:

  • This system is already in use by Prof. Debasis Samanta, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Prof. Samanta has created a website for the course CS40003, Data Analytics and the response from the student community has been very welcoming and positive. A similar model has also been successfully implemented in The IIT Bombay and has been brought to regular practice.
  • I have already spoken with the Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. Somesh Kumar, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Professor. Sudhir Kumar Barai, and Prof. Raja Datta of the Department of Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering. They are in complete agreement in the need to setup dedicated course websites, and are already planning to take this up in the next semester.
  • For the setup of Moodle links, I have reached out to Mr. Subrata Nayak, Head of NMEICT, and he is also enthusiastic to take this proposal forward.
  • I have also approached in Mr. Ksheera Sagar, Undergraduate Representative to the Institute Senate, and he has confirmed that the Undergraduate Council will aid in spearheading this entire process at a Departmental Level.
  • Proposal 4: Installation of Vending Machines in Campus      

    Overview & Need:

    Putting up vending machines around the campus in order to improve the access of essential commodities at all times during the day.

    There are many students who are involved in departmental studies, laboratories and research projects and sometimes have to travel a lot of distance for food and refreshment in odd hours. In addition to this, the staff and faculty within the academic area who are awake at night face discomfort due to lack of availability of refreshment and hence might lose efficiency in their work.

    The poor accessibility to various essential commodities like nutritious food, drinks and stationery at various times of the day fuels the need to have readily available and self-servicing vending machines which can be used by all the institute resident at all times of the day. This will not only improve the accessibility but will ensure quality service dispensed throughout the campus as it is quite easy to maintain quality checks on the products and ensure proper regulation is followed on these items.

    Proposal:

    I propose that these machines be installed at common junctions around the campus, so that students can get access to essentials around the day. The various items provided by these machines will be as follows:

  • Food & Drinks: At odd hours around the day when most shops around the campus are closed, the demand for food doesn’t go away. It is at times like these that vending machines come in handy to serve the needs of the students while providing healthy and accessible food options.
  • Medicine: All of us have fallen sick one time or the other. The only available medicine dispensers right now in campus is either in BC Roy Hospital or the Tech Market, I feel that these vending machines should keep a stock of standard medicines (such as paracetamols, crocin, antacids etc) to readily help the students out whenever they are in need of such items
  • Sanitary Pads: These vending machines will be indispensable in the women halls to get easy access to sanitary napkins, which are of paramount importance.
  • Stationery: Every student requires access to stationery in order to finish their lab work or an important project submission. In times like these if the shops nearby that student’s hall is closed/it is at an odd hour, then he/she has no alternative but to wait for the shops to open, by which time it might already be too late. These vending machines will be instrumental in addressing these problems.
  • Feasibility:

    Since setting up vending machines in various places of the campus requires permission from electrical works, HMC, Commercial Establishment and Licensing Committee and the Campus security, an official procedure needs to be followed. As per the General Financial Rules, issued by the Government of India - the practice of Expression of Interest followed by the tendering mechanism should be followed.

    So at first, the CELC of the institute will be releasing the expression of interest document on the institutes tenders website, to know the interest of the vendors who are interested to set up the vending machines. As per the interest expressed by the vendors, an institute visit will be organised to show the vendors the strategic locations, the population statistics etc. If the visiting vendors find the campus location feasible for their business, then the institute will go for the standard tendering procedure for allowing the vendors to set up the machines.

    The same procedure is followed in the Railway Stations of Indian Railways where a vendor has to pay a monthly rent, electricity charges and nominal license renewal fee for keeping the vending machine is an assigned point in a Railway Station. The vendor will be the sole authority to procure, maintain the machine and also responsible for the accidents caused by it.

    Groundwork:

  • I have approached Prof. Surjya Kanta Pal, Chairman of Hall Management Center, IIT Kharagpur and Prof. Susanta Banerjee, Chairman of the Central Establishment and Licensing Committee about the benefits of this proposal, and they have given a positive response on the establishment of the same.
  • I have talked to Dolan Shil, Shil Micro Industry regarding supply of sanitary pads that could be used in the vending machine who agreed this would serve as a potential idea.
  • Proposal 5: Improving the Overall Ranking of IIT Kharagpur      

    Overview:

    The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was approved by the MHRD and launched by the Honourable Minister of Human Resource Development on 29th September 2015. This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country. The methodology draws from the overall recommendations broad understanding arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD, to identify the broad parameters for ranking various universities and institutions. The parameters broadly cover “Teaching, Learning and Resources,” “Research and Professional Practices,” “Graduation Outcomes,” “Outreach and Inclusivity,” and “Perception”. Figuring in the top list in all five categories in NIRF 2018 ranking, IIT Kharagpur is the only Institute to be ranked in the top list in all 5 categories for which it was considered. "Overall (5), Engineering (4), Management (7), Architecture (1), Law (4). However, IIT Kharagpur's score under "Outreach and Inclusivity" (OI) parameter has seen a significant decrease from a total of 72.85 to 56.16. There is also a drop from 64.72 to 62.1 in the score of "Perception" which involves the perception of students, employers, investors, and public. Within the next few years, I envision IIT Kharagpur as one of the top schools, both overall and across a multitude of disciplines. I propose to achieve this by undertaking various initiatives that will assist IIT Kharagpur in improving its rankings, under both the above mentioned parameters including: Perception and Outreach & Inclusivity.

    Need

    As one of the premier engineering institutes of the country, in spite of increasing its overall score from 68.43 to 71.39, the rank of the institute fell from 4th to 5th position in the 2018 NIRF rankings. The position of IIT Kharagpur also declined in the QS University Rankings released last year. Hence, the onus lies with the student representatives and the student community as a whole, to ensure that various interventions are formulated and executed, in order to ameliorate the stature of our IIT in both these parameters. Such steps would be advantageous for the entire student community since it will increase repute of the institute among employers, investors, and the general public, leading to an even wider plethora of opportunities for students and alumni of the institute. To fulfill this vision, every student in the institute should get equal opportunity to realise his/her potential. This can be achieved when we harbour an environment promoting inclusivity in campus across all strata of the community.

    What needs to be done and benefits?

    The various criteria under the ‘Perception’ parameter in the NIRF rankings are as follows:

  • Peer Perception: Employers and Research Investors (PREMP)
  • Peer Perception: Academics (PRACD)
  • Public Perception (PRPUB)
  • Competitiveness (PRCMP)
  • To improve the public perception of the institute among all these stakeholders, I propose the organisation of a Demo Day @ IIT Kharagpur and the creation of a Digital Showcase for displaying the research facilities, innovation and achievements of the institute on a public forum.

    Demo Day @ IIT Kharagpur

    The Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur is host to 19 departments, 14 Centers and 12 Schools, and each of these academic units are working on cutting edge research and constantly innovating. The Demo Day @ IIT Kharagpur will be a testament to this innovative spirit that the institute has always nurtured. This Demo Day will be organised to showcase the ongoing research projects, innovative products and research facilities present in the institute. The facets that I plan to include as a part of the Demo Day are as follows:

  • Guest Lectures: Technical lectures by eminent personalities and alumni in various technical fields
  • Open Labs: Organisation of lab tours, and demonstration of the tools and facilities available at the institute.
  • Student Research Groups: Demonstrations by all the student research groups, resulting in further outreach and greater investment potential.
  • Departmental Visits: Interaction with faculty & student researchers, and exhibit of ongoing research, publications & patents obtained in the last year.
  • Product Expo: Showcasing of various innovative products and prototypes fabricated in the institute.
  • Entrepreneurship: Student and alumni startups can display their products/business models to corporates and investors.
  • Investor Outreach: Bridging the gap between researchers and investors, promoting intellectual property commercialisation.
  • Sector Specific Projects: Presentation of student projects that have commercial application in the fields of defense, clean energy, communication, AI and Deep Learning etc.
  • The Demo Day will be open to the general public, with special emphasis on involving alumni of IIT Kharagpur in this flagship event. This will ensure that the general public is abreast of the various developments taking place at IIT Kharagpur. The initiative can be organised on August 18th, 2018 to commemorate the 67th anniversary of our Institute Foundation Day. Since the Technology Transfer Group, under the aegis of Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy (SRIC), is entrusted with the responsibility of acting as a link between the industry and academia to facilitate transfer of industry ready technologies, the organisation of the Demo Day be a part of their mandate in the next year.

    Digital Showcase

    I propose the formation of a Digital Showcase to provide a year round portal for publicising various facets of student research in the institute. Although the SRIC website does have a non exhaustive set of research projects and research facilities present in the institute, I believe that the establishment of a user friendly and central repository of information or the general public.

    The Digital Showcase portal will contain a drop down menu initially for a user, to access research in a particular department/center/school or interdisciplinary domains. Each department/center/school page will contain the following information, classified into each of the categories mentioned below:

  • Research Facilities and Labs
  • Ongoing and Past Research Projects
  • Ongoing and Past Consultancy Projects
  • Repository of past Student Projects/Theses
  • List of Publications
  • List of Intellectual Property associated with the Academic Unit:
  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Copyrights
  • Database of technologies available for commercialisation/licensing
  • Names and current projects of Student Researchers
  • Student Research Initiatives
  • The benefits of the above mentioned initiatives are manifold. This will lead to greater investor outreach, and creation of linkages between industry and academia. Moreover these two initiatives will be instrumental in listing out various projects under student researchers, especially Post Graduate and Research Scholar students, providing them the avenue of assimilation into corporates after their tenure at the institute, or proper channels for technology commercialisation. Apart from this, a newsletter should about recent research developments at IIT Kharagpur should be sent across to all alumni and current students, on a monthly basis, to generate widespread interest among all stakeholders. Proper dissemination of information on recent achievements or technical progress by the Institute Public Relations bodies including the Branding and Relations Cell would provide extensive traction to each of these student research initiatives, and promote interdisciplinary research.

    The various criteria under the ‘Outreach and Inclusivity’ parameter in the NIRF rankings are as follows:

  • Percent Students from other states/countries (Region Diversity RD)
  • Percentage of Women (WF) + (WS) + (WA)
  • Economically and Socially Challenged Students (ESCS)
  • Facilities for Physically Challenged Students (PCS)
  • The International Relations cell is doing a commendable job of increasing international diversity in the campus. At the 322nd Senate Meeting, the proposal for the establishment of the Semester Exchange Program was approved by the institute administration. The program has commenced with the exchange program in collaboration with the University of Leibniz Hannover. Since the number of international students present in campus is an important factor for determining rankings in both NIRF [National Institute Ranking Framework] and QS University Rankings (5% weightage on number of International Students). I propose that various steps should be taken under the aegis of the International Relations Cell to help increase the number of international students in the campus. Under the IRC, an Institute Faculty Newsletter has been proposed to help promote the reputation of IIT Kharagpur among faculty members abroad, so that they are cognizant about various positive developments that are taking place at the Institute level. I propose to work in collaboration with the International Relations Cell to improve the IIT Kharagpur brand abroad through the above mentioned initiative and increase the number of international students in campus, while catering to their specific needs so that they have a productive experience in campus.

    Lean-In is a wonderful campus wide initiative started by Ayushi Mrigen, a fifth year student of Department of Mathematics and Computing for promoting inclusivity amongst women in the campus. Currently it is difficult for men and women to sit and collaborate on projects in our campus, hence, I plan to coordinate with the authorities so as to allocate gender neutral collaborative spaces across all halls. To sensitise people about gender issues, I propose to have a number of learning sessions that can be organised under the aegis of the counselling center. Apart from this, in order to increase the awareness and generate interest among female students regarding participating in various intramural activities, I propose to conduct workshops spearheaded by student representatives and senior members across all of the halls of residence.

    The Student Brotherhood Fund currently exists as an option for financially weak students to help complete their studies here at IIT Kharagpur. However, there are always limitations to the as to how many students they can support. To bolster this initiative, I propose to raise a corpus fund supported by alumni, so as to further the cause of these students. Since the students from weaker financial backgrounds have an issue of supporting their families, and hence are not able to focus completely on their curricular/extra curricular attainments, I propose to provide a nominal amount from the interest generated for the support and sustenance of their families.

    Currently, our institute doesn’t stand as a very disabled-friendly place. Academic areas and Halls of Residences are the focal areas of the campus and it’s imperative that they should facilitate the easy transport of students who are facing these issues. I look forward to pushing this proposal extensively, so that by the end of my tenure, at least all departments have provisions for free movement of handicapped students.

    Groundwork

  • Regarding the conduction of the Demo Day in campus and setup of the Digital Showcase, I have spoken to the Undergraduate Representative to the Institute Senate, Mr. Ksheera Sagar, and he has agreed that this can be brought under the mandate of the Technology Transfer Group, since it directly aligns with their vision. Both of these initiatives are well underway for the past 2 years in IIT Madras and IISc. Bangalore.
  • With respect to the proposals increasing inclusivity and outreach, I have spoken to Ms. Ayushi Mrigen, who is currently spearheading the Lean In movement in IIT Kharagpur. Apart from this, I have also spoken to Mr. Raj Kolamuri, the General Secretary, International Relations Cell, on how we can increase international diversity in campus.
  • Disclaimer: The format and content of all the Proposals are given by the candidates only. No editing has been done by Awaaz.


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